Okay, so Samurai Jack came out a few weeks ago, a glorious return after years and years of people thinking it was over….another series lost to time, another story that we adults would never get to see finished.
It is these things that led Samurai Jack to not only return, but return as an adult-oriented cartoon that could fully tell the end of this story the way it was meant to be. With two of the 10 episodes released so far, I can definitely say that it was worth the wait and it has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a cartoon…hell anything like this. So I wanted to explain why me and a lot of people are so hyped about this series and what makes it so significant.
I wish, I could structure my words in a way that would make a coherent sentence, but I am the worst at explaining my thoughts in a pronounced manner.
Samurai Jack is excellent in one regard, which is telling a story through cartoons.
I think a lot of people consider cartoons to be a kind of time-wasting mechanic, an almost overly elaborate way to tell a joke or a short story, a distraction to get from one beat to the next. Today, we see countless cartoons, but few of them ever truly take advantage of the medium. Samurai Jack does it, and it does it well. Hell modern films could take a page from Samurai Jack.
The reason this show, this series is so significant is not what it does necessarily, but what it doesn’t do. The series doesn’t force a lot of talking and dialogue. The series DOESN”T FEAR SILENCE!
I think, a lot of times people try to use dialogue as a way to get things across to make up for one’s inability to convey it through visual or other means. But Samurai Jack does the opposite, the series has created Jack as a silent but strong character, which is something you rarely see from a protagonist, especially a protagonist who adventures on his own.
Jack finds himself in constant situations where many times his opponent are just as stealthy. So when the characters themselves don’t speak, what sound is there to make?
The answer in many times is none! Let the music build up, let the scene play it out. When Jack walks on a plank of wood, you feel the fragility of his surroundings. The sharp sound of something moving quickly through the air, breaking the previous silence immediately gets your attention and reminds you that something is about to happen.
Samurai Jack is no casual character either. While he does grow and learn, it should be noted that Samurai Jack is already a master when this series begins. It isn’t so much about him learning new techniques or new skills, but instead about him applying the knowledge that he has learned to overcome an obstacle.
It is rare for Jack to not be forced in a situation where he has a convenient way to overcome it. There’s the episode of Jack and the Archers, where he has to outsmart and unstoppable defense.
There’s the episode where Jack has to face an endless assault of defeated foes, there are many battles with Aku, where he is tricked and trapped and constantly deals with struggle after struggle, and overcomes them.
In the same moment, it is absolutely heartbreaking to see Jack fail. The series starts with his failure and each and every time he fails, it becomes that more disheartening. You see Jack fall into dispair, almost completely give up on his journey at times only to rise up and push through.
Despite everything that Jack has accomplished, he is still experiencing an uphill battle, and damn it it is hard to not want to see him make it to the top.
If you haven’t seen Samurai Jack, or you don’t know what makes it great, then I can’t really do much but refer you to the video below, which explains this a lot better than I ever could.